The Key To A Successful Country Is Its Local Governments.

Local governments matter, not a little, but a lot.  Where I live preparations for a flood are underway.  Watching local city and county people make decisions and carry them out is reassuring.

I don’t have this feeling about state or federal governments.  Our state legislature does a good job managing its money, but it has become disconnected with reality on abortion.

The federal government does the  best it can given how large and diverse our country is.  I wish more of my thinking would prevail, but I’m grateful for what liberal laws are passed.

While most local governments do very well, they are never easy to manage.  Citizens expect their local officials to be accessible to them.  I’ve know Mayors in smaller cities who owned retail businesses.  Some almost lost their businesses because residents could walk in any time and bend their ear. Paying customs grew impatient and shopped elsewhere.

This access to local officials makes it difficult to manage cities’ money as well.  A variety of constituencies compete for this money. Officials have the responsibility for the safety of citizens, but when close friends and neigbors want more of the pie for other things, it’s tough.

The easiest thing to tell all them is yes, I’ll find the money for you. Everyone knows the consequences of saying that.  But, saying no has consequences as well.

The latest city to fail is Stockton, California.  We can expect some failures every year.

Saying no is so difficult, some cities just can’t do it.

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19 Responses

  1. Henry

    No to inflated, costly flood predictions. No to costly bike routes on major thoroughfares. No to costly flood diversions. No to Fargo Zoo; oh, that’s right, we said “no” three times, yet we have one we are on the hook for. No to costly, cracking, sinking hockey arenas; oh, that’s right, we did (lost count how many times), yet we have one we are on the hook for. No to three and four man crews leaning on shovels.

    1. Henry 12:24 “No to inflated, costly flood predictions.”

      I think they have to over build for flood protection. Grand Forks tried shortcut the diking effort in ’97 and lost their city. But, your other “no’s” I’m with you on. Arenas, how many do we need. It seems like every decade someone says, “Our— arena is too old, not the right shape, whatever. At least voters turn some down and they are never built. Some, like you say, are built even though we voted them down.

      1. Henry

        I wouldn’t suggest to shortcut dike building. I would say build a cost effective nice dike. 500 year flood prediction at 43′?, then build the nice dikes to 46′. We can do that. 2nd street yearly mess? Drive a continuous line of sheet pile in combination with an embankment with elevated road behind the sheet piling or simply eliminate 2nd street and add permanent clay dike and green space. These seem like fairly simple problems to solve.

  2. Buzz

    nice to read about something besides promotion of medical murder and abberant sexual behaviors.Nice change Jon

  3. entech

    Jon, I sometimes wonder why you bother. You can expect for flak and some abuse from people who don’t agree with the things you support, and from the religious people when it all gets anti-Biblical.
    You have to wonder at the mentality of clowns like Buzz who would introduce these things to create an attack out of a rational discussion of local problems.

  4. Michael Ross

    “The latest city to fail is Stockton, California. We can expect some failures every year.”

    The next major downturn in the economy will wipe out everything: Stock market, bond market, real estate, money markets, banks, federal, state, and local governments, social security, pensions, everything.

    “Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says:
    Because you have rejected this message,
    relied on oppression
    and depended on deceit,
    this sin will become for you
    like a high wall, cracked and bulging,
    that collapses suddenly, in an instant.
    It will break in pieces like pottery,
    shattered so mercilessly
    that among its pieces not a fragment will be found
    for taking coals from a hearth
    or scooping water out of a cistern.”(Isaiah 30:13-15)

    1. Brad

      Thanks for the message of doom and gloom. If there is a crash, it will be because of the income divide, the deliberate and methodical destruction of labor unions and the working class, and corporate greed. That, according to your scriptures, is the real evil on this planet.

    1. entech

      20th Annual Great American Think-Off Question: “The Nature of Humankind: Inherently Good or Inherently Evil?”

      Do you think that a freethinker, so often accused of being close minded, could even contemplate that question.
      The first thought that comes to my mind is there only the two possible answers, I am sure if we opened our minds there would be other possible answers. Even if it is only the “excluded middle”.

      1. entech

        😳 too quick.

        The 2013 Great American Think-Off question: “Which is more ethical: sticking to your principles or being willing to compromise?”

      2. Wanna B Sure

        So you don’t know if the Freethinkers are involved in the Great American Think Off. If memory serves, they are. I could be wrong. A simple question, not a debate.

        1. entech

          You know me, I am on the other side of the world and so not at all familiar with the event. I only spoke up because I think it is a good concept.

      3. Wolfy32

        I’m amazed at how much everyone wants something to be black and white. Shortest post from me ever and one word: LEMMINGS! (It’s a fun game, should try it sometime.. :))

      1. Wanna 12:55 I’ve never known any Freethinkers involved in The Great American Think Off. Close as it is to Fargo, it’s unusual I’ve never known anyone involved. Even though it’s been going on for several years, it still gets international publicity. New York Mills doesn’t seem different than other small MN cities around here. This brilliant idea, however, sets it apart. We had coffee in a cafe there last summer–I wish I had asked who thought of the idea and who runs it. If there are readers, here, from New York Mills, please help me out.

        An entech says, 2013 is “What is more ethical, sticking to your principles or being willing to compromise.” Such an appropriate topic. For some reason what jumped into my head was murders of children by young fathers “getting even” with ex wives. That’s sticking to your principles and not compromising.

        1. I think it depends on how important the issue is. The less important the issue the less willing you should be to compromise.

          That probably puts me on the “being willing to compromise” side of the ledger.

  5. Buzz

    entech 4:05 nice suck-up to Jon.but he is very capable of dodging his own figurative bullets.Like you say,your on the other side of the world and thats a good thing. you can stock up on Clown paint yourself you gasbag.

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